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A Short History of the Conflict in Sri Lanka
After the British left Sri Lanka in 1948, the Tamils complained they were being discriminated against by the newly-powerful Sinhalese, and demanded an independent state. A full-blown war began in the early 1980s.
Although an official cease-fire has been in place in Sri Lanka since December 2001, the peace process has begun to falter. Late last week, the BBC reported that the main armed opposition groupthe Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, also referred to as Tamil Tigers)continues to reject Sinhalese offers and cites a need for a "radical overhaul" of the entire process.
Yet Romesh Silva notes that the impact of the conflict affects not only the Sinhalese majority and the Tamils, but also minority groups and those on the fringe of Sri Lankan society. Silva notes, for example that a small group of Muslims who have had little or nothing to do with the ethnic conflict, and make up only 7% of the entire population, account for the majority of persons forcibly displaced in the course of the war.
23 June 2003
Return to main article, "Turning Tales of Trauma into Hard Data to Draw Accurate Portrait of Conflict."